In the Beginning

One last program for the year with the Cascadian Chorale, this one featuring Fauré’s Requiem and Copland’s In the Beginning. It’s fun to sing the Fauré, though I have to confess that, this being my fourth or fifth lifetime performance, I have to remind myself to stop and listen every now and then to appreciate the beauty.

The Copland is a different story. A rare piece for Copland, it’s written for a cappella choir and soprano solo and is more akin to his early avant garde works than later symphonies such as Appalachian Spring with their explicitly folk-tune based melodies. The piece is is no specific key or meter, but visits about twelve different tonalities throughout, all with hummable melodies and each yielding to the next in a slow chromatic rise of pitch throughout the piece until the final lines are sung in an ecstatic seventh above where the music started. The rhythms are propelled by the natural rhythms of the text, the first chapters of Genesis. The whole work is said to be one of the most challenging choral compositions of the twentieth century. I believe it. But it’s also one of the most beautiful.

Hope to see you all at the concert